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COPE raises LRC’s failure to collect Rs 2 bn, lawyer drawing two salaries

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Top management of the Land Reforms Commission (LRC) before the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) pic courtesy parliament

The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has directed the Land Reforms Commission (LRC) to take action against an employee for drawing two salaries. During recent COPE proceedings, chaired by Prof. Ranjith Bandara, the top management of the LRC was questioned on an attorney-at-law who had received two salaries while also serving as an investigative officer. The COPE directed the LRC to recover Rs 1.7 mn and other allowances from the lawyer and conduct a disciplianary inquiry.

The COPE also discussed the failure on the part of the LRC to collect two billion rupees ifrom various government institutions.

The COPE took up several issues with the LRC while instructing Secretary Land Ministry Chulananda Perera to update the Land Reform Commission Act and take necessary measures to restructure its operations. The watchdog committee has asked Perera to submit a report within six weeks in this regard.

The LRC appeared before the COPE on Oct 21 when the latter examined the Auditor General’s report for the year 2020 and its current performance.

The Committee gave several recommendations to the commission and it was decided that the Land Reform Commission be summoned before it again within three months to look into the implementation of those recommendations.

Expressing concerns over the transferring of a particular land the COPE chairman has called for a report on land transfers during past 20 years within a month.

It also recommended setting up a task force to identify and estimate the value of land and recommended that the secretary to the Ministry report to the COPE within two weeks the details of the responsibilities assigned to the task force. The Committee recommended the appointment of the Surveyor General or his representative as well as the Government Assessor or his representative for this task force.

Furthermore, the parliamentary watchdog discussed about the “2018 project to

distribute 10,000 plots of land” and (Prof.) Ranjith Bandara, the chairman of the COPE, recommended that a detailed report on the progress of this be given to the committee. In particular, he recommended that the 214 people recruited on a temporary basis for this project should be discussed with the management department and a definite final decision should be taken to include them in the approved number of employees, and if necessary, they should be referred to the Cabinet for approval.

The COPE also recommended to include the procedure of the Land Reform Commission in a national policy on land distribution and make necessary arrangements.

It also suggested the updating of the 50-year-old Land Reforms Commission Act to suit the present-day context.

Furthermore, the Committee on Public Enterprises recommended that within two weeks, the Organic Fertilizer Project, which was initiated by the Land Reform Commission and has been temporarily paused at a cost of 350 million rupees, should be transferred to a state agency which has the knowledge of fertilizer products.

The missing files of the Land Reforms Commission were also taken into discussion and the COPE Committee informed the commission to immediately submit the missing files to the Auditor General.

The Committee also recommended that immediate action should be taken to resolve the existing issues regarding the beneficiaries identified earlier under the statutory assignments.

The Auditor General’s opinion on the financial statements of this commission has been disclaimed for about 10 years, the notice was given to prepare the financial statements correctly and arrange for the annual reports to be tabled in the parliament within 3 months.

COPE recommended to take action against the alleged company to recover the amount of 17 million rupees paid to a private computer company for the creation and development of a fully integrated computer system and to take disciplinary action against the officials involved in the matter.

Furthermore, the COPE committee also recommended to take legal action within two weeks to recover the amount of nearly 12 million rupees for the 6 acres of land assigned to a private company without a tax deed in the Homagama area. It was also instructed to inquire and report to the COPE regarding not making an agreement and charging 4% instead of 6% of the assessed value.

COPE recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the officials concerned for renting the building where the head office of this commission is run, exceeding the government assessment from the year 2016 without a rental agreement, contrary to the decision of the Cabinet and that immediate steps be taken to move the office to a government building.



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Jaffna Kings beat Galle Gladiators by 24 runs in LPL 3 opener

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Defending Champions Jaffna Kings overcame Galle Gladiators by 24 runs in the first game of LPL 2022 at MRICS Hambanthota.

Jaffna Kings 137 in 19.5 overs (Dunith Wellalage 30, Shoaib Malik 30, Dhananjaya de Silva 29; Wahab Riaz 2/23, Imad Wasim 2/22, Nuwan Thushara 2/21, Nuwan Pradeep 2/23, Iftikhar Ahmed 2/08)

Galle Gladiators 113/10 in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 51; Binura Fernando 3/22, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2/20)

 

 

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Coordinated assistance program supported by multilateral financial institutions is required for Sri Lanka’s recovery – WB, ADB, IMF, AIIB

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World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) representatives decided that a coordinated assistance program supported by the multilateral financial institutions is required for Sri Lanka to recover from the economic crisis the country is currently facing.

They reached the agreement following a lengthy round table discussion held today (06) with President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo where the latter presented Sri Lanka’s development program associated with the economic recovery and growth along with the vision for long term development. The President presented the program at the round table discussion in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies

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Implementation of the National Environmental Action Plan for the period of 2022 – 2030

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Approval was granted at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on 20.06.2022 for the National Environmental Policy. Accordingly, the Ministry of Environment has prepared the National Environmental Action Plan for the period of 2022 – 2030 with the contribution of all relevant parties by paying attention on the environmental challenges in the twenty first century as well as considering the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations in order to implement the National Environmental Policy. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the resolution furnished by the Minister of Environment to implement the said action plan, to take policy decisions at national level in that connection and to establish the consolidated environment and development policy committee with the chairing of the Secretary to the President for monitoring the same.

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